Bitcoin, the digital peer-to-peer based currency, is an attractive target for cybercriminals, who persistently look for new monetization tactics to apply to their massive, but easily generated botnets. Not surprisingly, thanks to the buzz surrounding it, fraudulent Internet actors have begun to look for efficient ways to take advantage of the momentum. A logical question emerges – how are market oriented cybercriminals capitalizing on the digital currency?
Instead of having to personally infect tens of thousands of hosts, some take advantage of basic pricing schemes such subscription-based pricing, and have others do all the infecting, with them securing a decent revenue stream based on a monthly subscription model.
Let’s profile the international underground market proposition, detailing the commercial availability of a stealth Bitcoin miner, feature screenshots of the actual DIY miner generating tool, screenshots provided by happy customers, and perhaps most importantly, MD5s of known miner modifications ‘pushed’ since its first commercial release.
In 2013, you no longer need to posses sophisticated programming skills to manage a ransomware botnet, potentially tricking tens of thousands of gullible users, per day, into initiating a micro-payment to pay the ransom for having their PC locked down. You’ve got managed ransomware services doing it for you.
In this post I’ll profile a recently spotted underground market proposition detailing the success story of a ransomware botnet master that’s been in business for over 4 years, claiming to be earning over five hundred thousands rubles per month.
Despite the fact that on the majority of occasions cybercriminals tend to rely on efficient and automated exploitation techniques like the ones utilized by the market leading Black Hole Exploit Kit, they are no strangers to good old fashioned ‘visual social engineering’ tricks. Throughout 2012, we emphasized on the emerging trend of using malicious DIY Java applet distribution tools for use in targeted attacks, or widespread campaigns.
Is this still an emerging trend? Let’s find out. In this post, I’ll profile one of the most recently released DIY Java applet distribution platforms, both version 1.0 and version 2.0.
No, they wouldn’t rely on any of these. They would just seek access to servers hosting as many domains as possible and efficiently embed malicious iFrames on each and every .php/.html/.js found within these domains. At least that’s what the cybercriminal operations that I’ll elaborate on in this post are all about.
Let’s take a peek at a recently advertised DIY mass iFrame injecting Apache 2.x module that appears to have already been responsible for a variety of security incidents across the globe. This module makes it virtually impossible for a webmaster to remove the infection from their Web site, affects millions of users in the process, and earns thousands of dollars for the cybercriminals operating it.
Over the past several quarters, we’ve witnessed the rise of the so called Police Ransomware also known as Reveton.
From fully working host lock down tactics, to localization in multiple languages and impersonation of multiple international law enforcement agencies, its authors proved that they have the means and the motivation to continue developing the practice, while earning tens of thousands of fraudulently obtained funds.
What’s driving the growth of Police Ransomware? What’s the current state of this market segment? Just how easy is it to start distributing Police Ransomware and earn fraudulently obtained funds in between?
In this post, I’ll profile a recently advertised DIY (do-it-yourself) managed voucher-based Police Ransomware service exclusively targeting European users, and for the first time ever, offer an inside peek into its command and control interface in order to showcase the degree of automation applied by the cybercriminals behind it.
It’s never surprising to see the multitude of tactics a cybercriminal will use to deliver malware. In this case, I came across a collection of files masquerading as RealNetworks updater executables. These files were all located in a user’s %AppData%\real\update_ob\ directory, and the sizes were all quite consistent.
At first glance there was nothing too special about this finding – malware appearing to be legitimate software is nothing new.
When I looked into the specific behaviors of the file, it became clearer that the software is in fact malicious, and that it is actually downloading malicious files from the popular web-based file hosting service Dropbox. These files came in two varieties: some files were randomly-named; other files were named for legitimate software. For example: utorrent.exe, Picasa3.exe, Skype.exe, and Qttask.exe.
In our previous technical analysis of the ZeroAccess rootkit, we highlighted how it acts as a framework by infecting the machine — setting up its own private space in the disk, first through a dedicated file system on the disk, and more recently by using a hidden and locked directory. This is where the rootkit stores the modules it downloads from the command and control servers. Until now, the plugins we’ve monitored have been ad-clickers and search engine hijackers.
We have also noted how the ZeroAccess rootkit acts very similar to the TDL3 rootkit, either by infecting a random system driver, using its own file system to store its plugins or by filtering the disk I/O by analysing the SCSI packets – though in a pretty different way. It’s more effective in the TDL3 rootkit and less effective in the ZeroAccess rootkit, however ZeroAccess has many more self-protection mechanisms in place.
While analyzing the ZeroAccess rootkit, I’ve always had the feeling it was inspired by the TDL3 rootkit. But while looking at the latest updates of it I’ve found something pretty interesting: The ZeroAccess team is looking at TDL rootkit as an enemy that needs to be defeated. The questions remains, is there a link between the two rootkits? We suspect the answer is yes.
Among the most infamous kernel mode rootkits in the wild, most of them have had a slowdown in their development cycle – TDL rootkit, MBR rootkit, Rustock are just some examples. The same doesn’t apply for the ZeroAccess rootkit. The team behind it is working quite hard, which we know for a fact because I’ve seen it.
We already talked about this rootkit and its evolutions in several blog posts, along with a white paper that documents more in depth all the technical features of the malware. The last major update released by the team behind ZeroAccess dates back a couple of weeks; That update implemented a strong self-defense routine able to kill security software programs that try to get access to its code, blocking the security software from running by manipulating access control list, or ACL, settings.
Last week ZeroAccess received another update, and again it’s a major one. The rootkit shifted from a hidden encrypted file used as an NTFS filesystem volume to a more comfortable hidden directory created inside the Windows folder, where the rootkit still stores its configuration data and other malware in an encrypted form. Continue reading →